Bladeslinger by Kerosene is an epic game available on the Apple iPad. Epic, because it truly stretches the boundaries of both technical ability of mobile games, combining graphics and sound that are truly mind blowing when you consider that a pad should be not this good! The game follows the lead character William Glastonbury, a cowboy who returns to find all sort of bad things have happened to his town since he’s been away. It’s set in an alternative universe, one where evil demons shaped like aliens roam free, where objects can be bought and sold to conjure up new special moves and give extra power to you and your weapons.
Although the game plays very linearly, it feels like a huge play field, a world whose expanse crosses many different layers of scenery. A game where old West towns are inhabited by the most dastardly of creatures, a world where the Wild West is wilder than it has ever been before. Given the setting of the game, the creators at Kerosene have done a brilliant job of making what is essentially a hack-and-slash adventure game into something that looks so good that you’ll forget that at its core it is deceptively simple to play once you learn all the moves.
When enemies appear, you can tap on them and William will fire his weapon directly at them. However, for the most part this is not enough and you will have to swipe one or two fingers in different directions to make him perform different moves such as punching, and using his sword. Although the game gives brilliant instruction on how to use these moves, it all becomes to much a case of swiping randomly to just hurl moves at the enemy or enemies on screen.
It’s when there’s more than one enemy on screen that you can feel the controls and camera angles creaking. Too many times you’ll swipe and William will fly towards you or between two enemies and it’ll take a few moments to get your coordination again. Pressing the pause button allows you to enter your objects and shop menu where you can touch various items and add them to your basket, use them or enhance them. It’s all pretty intuitive although it does slow down the gameplay.
Bladeslinger has set new standards for mobile games. The amount of detail in the environments is simply stunning, while the lighting effects are some of the best you will have seen on a mobile device. It’s not all perfect though, as the game does stutter now and again when coming from cut-scene to actual gameplay. It’s not a game breaker, but it’s noticeable and due to the quality of the graphics, it’s a shame they didn’t try and lock the frame rate to just smooth things out a little
The sound is just as impressive as the graphics. The narrative is spoken by a woman, and the story she tells is genuinely engaging. William’s voice also suits his character, and the voices of the aliens are all well done. Other sound effects for weapons, explosions and other crashes etc. sound very good and as they would in real life. Again, the standard that has been set is extremely high and one that Kerosene should be proud of.
Bladeslinger offers a unique experience, with great presentation, a great story and graphics that push the boundaries if mobile gaming. The game itself is fun to ply, although some of the chapters seem quite short while you are playing them. It’s a title that can be shown off to any of your friends and they will want to buy an iPad as soon as possible because of it. But, underneath all the glitz and glamour the game is really a simple hack and slash game, admittedly done very well and with a story that is very impressive.
Bladeslinger should be downloaded by anyone looking for a AAA-quality title on the Apple iPad, with Android versions becoming available soon.